MARGARET ATWOOD to me for the spring ish of BULLETT.
You better read.
AND THIS IS WHY MARGARET ATWOOD IS BOSS.
MARGARET ATWOOD to me for the spring ish of BULLETT.
You better read.
AND THIS IS WHY MARGARET ATWOOD IS BOSS.
dans la seuil de la porte.
…today i dressed as though winter were over; as though i cared about this holiday everyone keeps talking about regardless of their sentiments towards it. the kitsch factor is irresistable, though, so i dig up the stained dress i never wear, with a bow-so-girly, so sweet; the opposite of what i feel i am these days. i take pretentious photos of myself alone in my house to try and get a sense of what i feel i am, how i want to frame/present/represent myself. project myself via digital digits-all on the internet. rumours about politics and “legitimacy” and sex keep knocking at my door and i put them all to rest, lay the cards on the table, finally. fuck ‘em, literally and figuratively, i suppose.
with her lips on the back of my neck i thought of his face. he asks me to be his love, his daily love, son amour quotidien, son amour de tout les jours. why am i so shocked by the idea that someone would want to make their life with me? frightened, even, by the idea that someone, anyone could want to (or want to try to) tolerate me for a lifetime. “le chat brulée par l’eau chaude a peur de l’eau même froide.”
quoi? “once bitten, twice shy” sounds so much nicer in french. he knows that my hesitation(s) have nothing to do with my love for him, but it is cumbersome nonetheless. perhaps i get away with a lot because there are words i don’t yet understand, and words he does not understand. he can remember youth, though, but it is hard to express that fear of the unknown to someone who has lived in the same city for fifteen years, the same apartment for nine, and one old lover for 8. spoiled is the only way i can think to describe myself these days. maybe it will come back and bite me in the ass in the not too distant future but at the moment it is blissful decadence. or naive. (probably the latter)
you ask me where i stand, and i show you.
15th-Feb-2008 12:32 am
tearing up re-reading things i wrote years ago. i forget these feelings come back every spring.
— Laurie Penny (April 2012)
What the Girls spat on Twitter tells us about feminism by Bim Adewunmi at The Guardian (October 8th, 2012)
I look white and plan on dressing up as a sugar skull gypsy. and I dont care what anyone has to say about it, or what they think they know is wrong. I am half romani and italian. suck it.
i’ve decided i’m no longer publishing comments like this one that i receive on any of my halloween blog posts. this month i’ve taken to responding to them in private emails. surprise surprise, 75% of the time, the email address they’ve used is fake and bounces back, and the other 25% of the time they don’t respond.
this isn’t the comment that broke the camel’s back or anything, it’s just that there are so many variations of the exact same criticism. unlike a lot of bloggers, i really don’t think the number of comments reflects the quality or content of the blog. i’ve had some fantastic conversations (even in that very same post’s comments!)
i think that’s the aspect i find the most frustrating about blogging about critical things. that you put it out there because people are curious, and you have a bit of knowledge about a topic and share your thoughts. and in this case, i’m like, i’m not even saying anything fucking radical! i’m strongly recommending you consider wearing SOMETHING OTHER than race drag for halloween for your own benefit and the benefit of the people who will have to see your shitty ass costume. at this point i’ve written it in probably a dozen different ways over the course of like SIX YEARS and every single fucking time is till get the same assinine comments.
i can’t help but wonder, why? if i leave comments on a blog post i strongly disagree with, i always try to be clear and direct, but all the time lately i keep getting spammed with “ur a stupid bitch” and “suck it.” and i’m like, do they not realize i’m human? that the person reading these things might be sick of reading that? that reading twenty five of these in a row makes me feel nauseous? that i don’t get paid for this work, and that i’m not here to be your gatekeeper or teacher and punching bag all at the same time? like, why even waste your time leaving comments like this? what good could possible come from telling me to “suck it” because you disagree with me? i know the answer is no, these people probably aren’t thinking about these things… but it’s still really shitty.
for the most part i have to say i don’t give a fuck, because if i did it would be intensely emotionally draining. you’d think i was new at this whole “writing on the internet” thing but fuck! i’ve been doing it for over ten years and lately i just feel so shitty about the whole situation.
There are countries with depleting sources of fresh water out there
And we’re sitting here bitching about shithead hipsters in headdresses
you see, sometimes i check out the tumblrs of people who reblog a lot of my posts, and i’m kind of baffled to find things like this.
just a reminder: pretty much the number one reason why i still write and share shit online so much is to encourage people to think critically about how fashion (yes! frivolous, silly, vacuous fashion) can sometimes be harmful and violent to people who don’t fit into the narrow category of what is “acceptable.” fat people. people of colour. people with disabilities. queer people. trans* people. to challenge readers to think about why it is acceptable for a white person to “dabble” in “ethnic prints” or “exotic colours” while people who are PART of the cultures being appropriated are constantly erased or tokenized, objectified, and reduced to one-dimensional stereotypes.
i also try to point out, time and time again, how that these questions are not completely separated from “real world, actually important” issues. that while they may not be government policy or legislation, they are issues that have “real” impacts on the quality of people’s lives.
firstly, we’re still “sitting here bitching about shithead hipsters in headdress” because they keep wearing them.
we’re still “sitting here bitching about shithead hipsters in headdress” because i still get at least one email a month telling me that things i’ve written on my blog have encouraged people to look differently at these questions. that they’ve shared my post with their little sister who dressed up as an “indian princess” at some frat party, and that it started productive conversations. because i’ve gotten comments from germany, australia, iceland, france, from people saying they had never looked at this question that way.
we’re still “sitting here bitching about shithead hipsters in headdress” because it can be an accessible, easy way for a lot of (sometimes well-intentioned) uninformed white people who have never met a native person in their life understand the systemic violence and oppression they have faced, and continue to face, but also to recognize that they are still living breathing human beings who deserve far more than to be tokenized by “shithead hipsters” who think their traditional headdresses look cool.
and just because sometimes, we’re still “sitting here bitching about shithead hipsters in headdresses” does NOT mean we aren’t challenging bigger picture issues.
i get it. i’m sick of them too. i wrote that fucking article in 2010! more than two years ago! and yet i still get hundreds of hits a day on it. i’m sick of opening fashion magazines and seeing yet another advertisement or photoshoot featuring some regurgitation of the same old mess. i’m sick of visiting websites or stores to shop at and wondering if i should boycott them (or if that even helps) because they sell bullshit products and market them in not only shitty - but illegal - ways.
in fact, i’ve mostly stopped going to shows and music festivals because one too many concerts have been ruined for me by dumb white girls in “warpaint” and feather headdresses.
so yeah, i hear you. i wish i didn’t have to hear about it anymore either.
but dismissing the people who write about these issues and challenge people because “there are countries with depleting sources of fresh water out there” is just… absurd. as if people don’t understand that there is a “bigger picture” question going on out here.
just a reminder.
recently, i came across a blog post by a fashion blogger i’d describe by saying i respect and admire her. i visit her blog on occasion, she’s been around for years and has got a big readership. she’s stylish, gorgeous, and touches on political issues on a relatively regular basis, mostly around fat politics. this recent post was talking about buying herself a new pair of heels. she didn’t name the price, but said they were a gift to herself. this was worthy of note since she does receive free items from brands from time to time (and is always up front about it). i thought they looked really good, liked them enough to google them…
and found out they retail for nearly a thousand dollars.
and then i felt ill.
i’m not linking to the post or shoes in question because this isn’t (really) about that. it’s more about my own questions about wealth and fashion.
after finding out how much those shoes retail for (and assuming she paid close to that much money on them) i thought about all the other ways i would choose to spend that money. the things i could do, the things i could buy. i wondered if there would ever be a day where i could drop that much cash on a pair of shoes or a piece of clothing and not bat an eyelash. i wondered if that was something i could ever imagine aspiring to.
then, i remembered the time i worked in factories, feverishly trying to get through those first two 12-hour shifts to be able to pay for the steel-toed boots i had to wear to work there. i thought about wearing expensive sky-high heels. i thought about (dis)comfort, excess, luxury, decadence. i thought about what this made me assume about her, about her bank account, about her life and her priorities.
i don’t mean this to be a pity party for broke fashion lovers OR a shame women who drop serious cash on material goods! post. i’m mostly just thinking out loud and wondering about these fucked up feelings…
which leads me to my next question: has anyone written about this? have you read anything online or in journals about finding a balance between having been poor and/or anti-capitalist and then hating yourself for those feelings of envy and resentment?
i mean, i’ve written about thrifting as fun, environmentally-friendly/”green” (whatever the fuck that means today) and satisfying - but fuck! i thrifted because i had to. because if i wanted a closet filled with variety i had to go to by-the-pound places, not because i “wanted” to. because if i wanted to dress in a way i felt reflected my identity, and if that’s what i wanted, i had to buy my own clothes at thrift stores, not at the mall. because back when i was a teenager, one of the meanest insults you could throw at a kid was “where’d you get your clothes, the salvation army?” because i never felt poor enough when i was poor, because i would still “waste money” on clothes instead of the “necessities” like rent and food. because i’d feel guilty for spending 20 bucks on clothes in a month, and then jealous when i browsed online fashion communities where girls (this was before the era of “haul” videos) would post photos of the three or four dresses they bought at high-end american retail stores. what a bundle of contradictions.
part of me is wanting to negotiate between that extreme individualism that can be so omnipresent in fashion culture (i do what i want, i wear what i want, i buy what i want) and the destiny’s child “independent women” school of thought (the shoes on my feet/i bought it/the clothes i’m wearing/i bought it!)… contrasted with this idea that your clothing (what it looks like/how emotionally or financially invested you are in it) reflects your identity, your politics, your life in some way.
trying to weed out what about that is jealousy, what about that is my hatred of capitalism, and what about that is internalized class war (once a broke ass penny-pincher, always a penny-pincher).